Q&As

If a Will contains a legacy of real property ‘free of transfer costs’, how are the costs and expenses relating to the upkeep of the property during the administration period dealt with (eg utility bills and household insurance)?

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Published on LexisPSL on 12/12/2017

The following Wills & Probate Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • If a Will contains a legacy of real property ‘free of transfer costs’, how are the costs and expenses relating to the upkeep of the property during the administration period dealt with (eg utility bills and household insurance)?
  • Transfer costs
  • What is included in ‘transfer costs’?
  • Testamentary and administration expenses

If a Will contains a legacy of real property ‘free of transfer costs’, how are the costs and expenses relating to the upkeep of the property during the administration period dealt with (eg utility bills and household insurance)?

Personal representatives (PRs) have a duty to pay the deceased's debts with due diligence, having regard to the assets in their hands that are properly applicable for that purpose and all the circumstances of the case. PRs must discharge the funeral, testamentary and administration expenses and debts and liabilities of the deceased (section 34 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925 (AEA 1925)). For a solvent estate, therefore, there is no distinction between those liabilities incurred before death and those incurred after death. See: Funeral, testamentary and administrative expenses: Tolley's Administration of Estates [D9.15].

Transfer costs

So far as concerns the costs of transferring real property to a specific beneficiary, it is generally thought that this constitutes a testamentary expense to be borne by the residuary estate and not by the beneficiary.

The general position for moveable property is that unless there is an express direction to the contrary in the Will, the costs of transfer of moveable property to a specific legatee after assent are payable by the beneficiary, including package, delivery and insurance. Any costs incurred in preserving or maintaining the property, which is the subject of

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